Thursday, June 09, 2005

No News Is Good News

For the past year, I've read about two hours' worth of news and blogs per day, by cycling through roughly sixty bookmarked pages. I haven't had time to do that for the last couple of weeks, and on scrolling through my accustomed sites this morning I felt completely overwhelmed. My impulse, frankly, was to run away from it all. I feel like I have a better understanding of the public's lack of interest in current events.

It's been nice, for instance, not to think about H5N1. Effect Measure recommends a new site called EPIDEMIca; I second the recommendation. It's very...thorough. Distressingly so. But the information is presented responsibly and skeptically.

Lately I've been thinking about the Republicans' nonsensical claim that we must fight terrorists in Iraq, so we don't have to fight them here. It'd be nice if we took that approach to epidemic disease. Given a choice between spending $300 billion of taxpayer money on the Iraq War, and $300 billion on global flu surveillance and research, I think I would've been tempted to pick the latter.

It's also been nice not to be exposed to stories like this one from Pharyngula, which suggests that the military is coming perilously close to impressment, a practice that we once went to war to stop.

And I've done just fine without being exposed to metaphors for modern society like this dead-end fire exit.

On the other hand, where but the Internet could I find pictures like this?

In other news, I have a family of pacific slope flycatchers in my carport, including four hatchlings whose tiny beaks stand at attention when I open the car door. I'm going to try to post photos of 'em in the next couple of days. (Though if I don't cut my bamboo soon, I may never be able to leave the house again.)


Speechless said...

'tis a far better thing to cut the bamboo than to look at rude and shocking pictures on the internets. StillI know what you mean about missing and not missing one's connection to the funny little family which is all of us...

Welcome back. It's nice to know you survived.

roger said...

the picture gives new meaning to autoeroticism. i have to stop myself from further comment on it. too many possibilities for bad humor.

show us the birds, the avian kind, and the bamboo.

the "news" is rather depressing.

robin andrea said...

Yikes. I looked over at what DPR had on his screen and said "Jeez, where did you find a shot like that?" He said, "Oh Bouphonia had a link." Oh my.
Please post pictures of Pacific Slope Flycatchers. It will help balance out the nightmare we call news.

Phila said...

I'm grieved to say that when I got up this morning (after two hours of sleep), I found that something had managed to get at the flycatcher nest.

A cat, probably. The wife and I both have gloomy clouds over our heads, like in the cartoons. And I feel like an idiot, because even though I frettted over the nest, I gave no thought to the cardboard boxes piled near by. I still have no idea how the raid was'd be a real stretch even for a ferret.

One of those things that feels like the last straw, what with everything else that's going on. But c'est la vie, as they say. I'm still so swamped in work that I can't really think about anything else anyway.

Speechless said...

dpr, Autoeroticism. That's a good one!

Anonymous said...

I totally understand your impulse to flee from it all. The news is overwhelming to me too. I'm still not sure how to shake that helpless feeling. Any ideas?

Phila said...


If I knew, I'd be selling the secret at fifty bucks a pop!

Most days, the best I can do is consider that I wouldn't blow children's limbs off to make a buck. There's some consolation in having one's soul in reasonably good working order.

Beyond that, one tries to be of use, without ever thinking it's enough...

Sheesh. I don't know. Ask me again when I don't have an onerous deadline crushing the life out of me, and maybe I'll have something more positive to say!